Grange calls for urgent action to build culture of responsible consumption
GRANGE... We have to change our alcohol consumption culture.

Entertainment Minister Olivia Grange is urging industry stakeholders to foster a culture of responsible alcohol consumption.

"We have to change our alcohol consumption culture; I appeal to manufacturers, bartenders and entertainment stakeholders to share in that responsibility", urged Grange as she delivered her keynote address to a keen audience at the ' Responsibility Now! Driving responsible consumption through the entertainment sector' virtual town hall.

The event, jointly hosted by Red Stripe and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) on June 22 at the Red Stripe brewery, gathered a panel of prominent entertainment stakeholders to ignite a national discussion on how the entertainment industry can play a leading role in promoting moderate alcohol consumption.

Grange was one of several influential entertainment stakeholders who graced the Responsibility Now! stage. Other panel members were Red Stripe Head of Corporate Affairs, Dianne Ashton-Smith; PSOJ President Keith Duncan; Head of the JCF Corporate Communications Unit, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Stephanie Lindsay; DJ Kurt Riley; SunNation Promotions Managing Director, Philip Palmer; promoter and entrepreneur Kandi King; and Digital Marketer Denar Brown.

Speakers at the responsible alcohol consumption virtual town hall pose for a group shot following the event.

Citing statistics from the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), Grange noted that the Americas region ranks second highest in the world in terms of alcohol consumption.

“The consumption of alcohol has become a socially acceptable norm but has been detrimental to others. I wholeheartedly embrace this move by Red Stripe and the PSOJ to promote responsible drinking and encourage entertainers and the entertainment industry to help drive home the message of responsible drinking. As we approach the summer months and the activities to mark Jamaica's 60th Independence anniversary, I am appealing to everyone, if you must drink, do so responsibly. If you can't manage it, leave it alone!"

During her welcome remarks, Ashton-Smith set the tone for the evening's discussions by highlighting Red Stripe's journey to make sustainability and responsibility drivers of growth and meaningfulness with consumers.

Ashton-Smith shared, "We are writing our next growth chapter and putting sustainability and responsibility front and centre throughout our entire value chain - from the planting of our cassava tubers to the moment a cold bottle of Red Stripe beer is served on the bar. We know excessive drinking harms individuals, the people around them and society. We realise that alcohol abuse is a complex issue that requires a whole-of-society approach.

“It requires more than just the producers, like Red Stripe, taking action. It demands a concerted effort involving multiple stakeholders. Government and allied agencies, NGOs, consumer groups, the police force, legislators, retailers, hotel, bar and restaurant operators, promoters, party planners, and community groups all have a valuable role to play in encouraging responsible consumption."

She continued, "With the reopening of the entertainment sector, and more opportunities for shared celebrations, we've created these town hall series to raise awareness on moderation and responsible consumption of alcohol and inspire action. With the Responsibility Now series, we continue the productive dialogue that will lead to accelerated actions to achieve shared goals, scale our positive contributions and limit our negative impact."

The event's open panel discussion, moderated by Terri-Karelle Reid, explored several existing solutions that could be implemented locally by entertainment stakeholders to limit the impact of consumption at events. The solutions discussed included incentivised ride-sharing, drinking marshals to monitor alcohol consumption by patrons, empowering bartenders and servers to cut off inebriated guests, and enforcing the practice of checking IDs at events to prevent underage drinking.

Commending Red Stripe for its continued efforts to promote an agenda of responsible consumption, Keith Duncan stated, "We have to acknowledge Red Stripe for pushing this message of moderation and responsible use of alcohol and consumption. We know it would be in their interest to sell as much as possible, but instead, they encourage people to consume in moderation. The PSOJ is happy to support that message, and we will do anything to support this campaign. As we go into the summer with these huge entertainment events, we must work closely and collaborate to drive this message home. I'm happy to be here this evening in this kind of multisector private-public partnership to help strengthen this message."

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